Match Report - West Ham U19 V Nottingham Forest U19 - 16 Feb 2004

Tony Carr is delighted that West Ham have progressed to the quarter-finals of the FA Youth cup after a nerve-wracking win over Nottingham Forest on penalties.

"It was a cracking cup tie," says Tony Carr.

"It had goals, controversy, extra time, a penalty shoot out - it had it all.

"Fortunately we came out on top and overall we had the better chances, crosses and shots, more possession in their half."

Forest thought they had scored a winner in extra time but Tony explains:

"They feel a bit aggrieved about what would have been their third goal but I spoke to the referee after the game and I think they got to the right decision - but didn't go the best way about it.

"The linesman flagged for the infringement then ran up the pitch rather than point to the penalty area.

"That is where the controversy came in and the linesman cleared it up with the referee.

"He did flag for an infringement so technically speaking it was never a goal anyway - but his actions looked like he had given a goal.

"What they are saying is they literally didn't give that in the first place; the linesman flagged for a two handed push on the goalkeeper's back.

"The referee didn't reverse a decision, he just confirmed he had given a free kick, and our lads had to ask him what he had given.

"You can't fault our character and resilience; we didn't always play as we would have liked but you have to understand these are young lads and sometimes they get caught up in the emotion of the occasion and don't play as relaxed as you would like.

"But these nights are all about playing on the big stage - and we went through all the emotions tonight."

In the first half, Sos Yao broke through only for Forest's goalkeeper to smother, while Kyle Reid - like Sos, wearing splendid blue boots - fired wide.

Chris Cohen produced the best shot of the first half with an effort on the turn that was saved.

After the break, Wilmet gave Forest the lead before Chris Cohen headed dramatically home on 88 minutes to force extra time.

Indeed Chris nearly scored in the last seconds direct from a corner, only to see it punched away.

Wright and Parrington were both booked for challenges.

In extra time, Weir-Daley put Forest back in front after Reid had seen two efforts saved, but Mark Noble fired home a curling shot almost immediately afterwards, just before the first 15 minutes were up.

There then followed a controversy in the second half of extra time when Forest appeared to have scored.

It looked as if West Ham's protests were about whether the ball had crossed the line, and the players surrounded the referee asking him to talk to his linesman.

With the Forest players having lined up to a man for what they thought would be a West Ham kick-off, the referee, to the great delight of the 1,251 crowd, ruled the goal out.

And so it went to penalties, with Danny Bunce, Mark Noble, Darren Blewitt, and Sam Wright keeping their cool to score, while Matthew Reed made two magnificent saves to break Forest's hearts.

"We tipped Matthew Reed the wink because we saw Forest's penalty shoot-out against Coventry and he guessed the right way a couple of times," says Tony.

Chris Cohen, Mark Noble, and Kyle Reid now travel to Portugal for an friendly U17 tournament that England are playing in.

"They won't do much training because they are cramped and tired emotionally but hopefully they will do themselves and the club proud," says Tony.

West Ham will now face Aston Villa or Rotherham at home.